Amid all the tears and excitement, the qualifiers from the first semi-final of Eurovision 2018 didn’t have much time to compose themselves. But they headed to the post-show press conference anyway, opening their hearts and sharing their joy. Below you can hear what they had to say.
They also drew “first half” or “second half” in the running order. Producers will later determine the full running order for the grand final. Their goal is to create the most interesting show.
Running order draw: First half or second half
- Czech Republic
Austria: Cesár Sampson – “Nobody But You”
“I didn’t feel like I had the crowd at my feet. A lot of the crowd were right at my eye sight. It was a beautiful view. I felt so close to everyone. I see a lot of people I know and they all seem very happy.
“Just after coming off stage I was so happy. I was so happy. When the camera came i was even happier. I was just so happy to be with my singers. We were so happy that we had done well and done a good job. We were just busy being happy. When the camera came we were surprised because we were busy being happy.”
Expectations for the final? “I just think about what we can do better. Aspects to put on an even better show in the final. That’s all I’m thinking. But right now the happiness is what’s most prominent.”
Estonia: Elina Nechayeva – “La forza”
“I think that the power of love has amazing power maybe to win.”
“I think the most important [thing] is to sing from the heart, to sing from the soul. Then I think you can reach to people’s hearts and souls, and invoke some hidden emotions that are somewhere inside of them. Maybe there are goosebumps and tears inside of them.”
Cyprus: Eleni Foureira – “Fuego”
Cyprus made their debut in 1981. The best result so far is fifth place. Is it time to win? “I wish I can change that. I’m so happy being here right now. Thank you for all the lvoe and support the people. i’m going to try and make support for Cyprus. This journey is amazing for me and what we are doing here is not always for the positions and the message and for the music and the love.”
You live in Greece. But how do you feel about Yianna not making it? “I was the third. i didn’t listen that I pass. I was thinking. ‘Where is the camera?’ And I saw the camera coming to me and I was crazy….I ran with high heels like crazy. I found a screen and I was like ‘Greece, Greece, Greece? I saw they didn’t qualify and I was ready to cry. Greece is my homeland and I wish things were different, really.”
“I feel like a winner already. My life is beautiful already. If I win, if I don’t win, it’s the same for me. When I hear people sing it’s amazing.
Lithuania: Ieva Zasimauskaite – “When We’re Old”
It’s magical when you meet your husband on the bridge. “I don’t know, but the main thing in my lie is not to act anything. I wanted to do this with my real husband as an actor. In the video clip there is my parents and my grandparents, there are no acting. It’s a good feeling to be on the stage with your husband so think about that.”
“It is said that after three years you are going together or separating. When the fighting comes, work on it. All people have struggles in life. We can smile, we can add something, but we all have struggles. The most important thing is not to give up. You don’t need to search for a person. If your heart is saying it’s that person don’t look at the bad qualities. Focus on the good.”
“The main victory in life is to be happy. And to make the people surrounding you happy. The most important thing is not to be perfect.”
Israel: Netta Barzilai – “Toy”
Why the cats? “That’s Doron’s crazy mind. Doron wrote the song and together with the whole K-pop, J-pop thing we thought it would be a really great thing.”
You were bullied. What do you have to say to those people? “I had to go through what I’ve been through. It made me who I am. I thank them. But I would like to say that I want bullying to stop because it is obviously ruining people’s live. I had amazing parents. I am very, very lucky to have them and have them support my dream, but nobody…most people don’t have tools to deal with bullying. So that’s about it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love myself. And I love everybody.”
How do you handle the pressure? “I think it’s The Matrix — you decide what pill you want to take. Between making music and making people happy, celebrating diversity, celebrating all these amazing artists on this stage. Amazing.”
Czech Republic: Mikolas Josef – “Lie to Me”
“Three years ago I was still a street musician. I got busted there and spent some time in the police station, but to every single artist out there: if you’re starting out there, the street is the best place to learn how to perform and lose stage fright and attract people who don’t give a damn about you. if that didn’t happen I wouldn’t feel this great right now.”
“We came here wanting to do flips. Just being able to perform for me was a very special moment. I now take it even more seriously than I did before. Maybe I’m going to go crazy and do a flip. I’ve been advised not to. We’ve practiced for five months every single day to make it as perfect as we can and I will do my best to do that.”
“Whatever struggle you’re going through in life — a breakup, a family member passing away — in the end it’s you in the mirror, it’s you helping yourself. It’s always going to be you.”
Bulgaria: Equinox – “Bones”
Vladdi: “The atmosphere was fantastic. We were cheering for everybody. We were feeling good with how we performed. We just felt the love. We had the team surrounding us and the rest of our team is here in the room. This is a team effort for us. Thank you to Johnny and Trey for coming from the States to join us.”
Albania: Eugent Bushpepa – “Mall”
“It’s a song about missing the person you care about most. I dedicate it to all Albanians, because I am missing Albanians.”
What’s it been like for you in the past day? “This was out of my league. My whole meaning was to give my maximum tonight. And I need to give myself time to sit and think about that.”
Finland: Saara Aalto – “Monsters”
You finally broke the second place curse. “But I was announced second to last, so i kind of get my second place still.”
Finland was among the last to be called. “I was so, so, so nervous. It was terrible because there was no cameras around us. The cameras were so far away. We were like they are not coming here. I’ve been wanting to be here for the last 20 years. This my biggest dream ever. I was like I really want to get to the finals. I screamed more than I’ve ever screamed in my life”.
“I feel good. This is like the best night of our lives. I’m just happy people felt my lvoe for Eurovision because this is the place where I belong. I really just gave my all. Like all of us, this is a really big thing for everybody. And to be able to be in the final is a very big thing for me.”
Ireland: Ryan O’Shaughnessy – “Together”
You are a fan of tattoos. Will you tattoo something to remember tonight? “Yeah, I’m just going to take a picture of this and then tattoo it on my back”
A lot of beautiful journalists here are gay. Still there is not one country that dared to sing about gay love. Do you want to inspire artists to sing about gay love as well?
“I just like to not inspire people to sing about gay love or straight love or anything like that. That was never my intention. My intention from the start was to help people who don’t see that love is just love and there’s no difference if it’s between a man and a woman or a woman and a woman or a man and a man and I think it’s really important. Not everyone is as liberal as the people in this room are. It’s an important thing I think. I’m really proud of my country for making that change a couple of years ago. We’re bringing new energy back to that topic and I’m really happy about that.”
“I was actually pretty confident before I stepped on stage. I said a little prayer to my Uncle Tony. I think it was Jon who picked us last to come out. it was a very comfortable experience. I’m here for a short time and a good time.”
PHOTO: Etienne Waiotte for wiwibloggs